In this series, we delve into the works and musings of artists, fashion stylists, designers, entrepreneurs, and other creatives who continue to share their craft and inspire others to carve their own path and cultivate a sense of hope and passion.
This conversation has been edited for clarity.
“I see this situation as an interim normal, a much-needed reset that is opening our eyes to make better choices. I’m using this time to reach out to others and to bond with family.
“Our family learned to cook our favorites from scratch during the first few months of the lockdown, including our first loaf of bread and our first proper pizza. We used to often go to the mall for pizza since it’s just right across the street, but since our boys learned to make it, they hit the kitchen whenever there’s a craving.
“Since the easing of the lockdown, we have been able to swim and do outdoor activities within our building. At home, we pick up our musical instruments once in a while and play; and I also took this time to teach my kids about rock n’ roll history.
“On my own, I do yoga and practice bhakti meditation to keep my balance. Lastly, I wear jewelry even if I’m just at home. It gives me that extra pep, and putting my layers together is something I look forward to everyday. These things, plus a lot of free time, continue to keep me fully-charged, creatively.
“The most challenging step is the first: getting inspired. If I’m not on the right frequency, I will not even try to make anything. Sometimes it takes days, weeks — I don’t give myself a deadline.
“Sometimes, I go through travel pictures and research about the things I have seen which made me so curious; or I read about a particular culture. Then I make sketches while looking at stones and see which ones feel right together.
“I like to combine contrasts — raw and fine, light and dark, organic and inorganic and so on. I sleep on my idea and when the design is solid enough, I turn it into a technical drawing and discuss it with my production team.
Hold on to the vision; don’t lose the plot
“I do things with more enthusiasm and gratitude now; and I sensed the same with my staff. I feel we have become a better team.
“At the beginning of the lockdown, there was so much uncertainty. The world was thinking along the lines of ’essentials’ and I knew my pieces were far from being ’essentials.’ I knew that it was possible to lose whatever I had built. Although, for some reason, there was not much fear because I was determined to rise above the situation so my team and I waited it out.
“I continued doing what I love best, which is making and wearing jewelry. It was partly a coping mechanism because nothing inspires me more than stones and jewelry. I felt that I was going against the grain as everyone else posted masks, PPEs, virus news and such. However, I felt strongly about sticking to what inspires me, and in doing so, inspiring others. I started receiving thank you messages and orders.
“We are now back at work, grateful for the appreciation and support, and trying our very best to extend it as best as we can. I can say that now we are are working harder and serving better.
“Physical shopping is now a big challenge, but the good news is that logistics services in our country have never been this good and they keep on improving. which eases that challenge.
“Our showroom is not inside a mall and we are able to establish a by-appointment service. Although, even before the lockdown, eighty percent of our customers have preferred courier service, which continues today. Being online is essential for a business to thrive in these times.
The joy is in the freedom of creating, no one can take that away from you
“My keyword is high-frequency. I don’t make an effort to create on low-energy days to avoid making mediocre work. One’s energy translates to one’s work, and to the wearer. Sound vibration, meditation and sage are my tools for a daily spiritual bath, and I’m off to a good start. I also have a synergystic relationship with stones and I cleanse them before use. They carry raw, pure energy. Sometimes I get attached and get a bit sad to see them go but i make sure to send them off well, with lots of blessings!
“To me, creativity is one planet and reality is another. Whenever chaos takes over reality, I know i always have a safe place where I am free to paint and make things and conceive ideas.
“Before the lockdown, I had ideas for keys. I love vintage keys and imagining the kinds of doors they could unlock. We have now started to produce this key collection, which hopefully gets us out of this lockdown rut.
“I’m also hoping to do collaborations as I would like to explore other creative minds and make hybrid objects with them. I’m surrounded with artist and designer friends whom I would love to work with, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
“That said, I’m also more creative when left alone. I know that connecting with others is important and I do love being with friends and family, but I always look forward to that ‘bat cave’ moment when I get to be by myself, not answering calls or meeting up, and just diving into my little world where anything can possibly be created.
“I collect crystals because I believe in crystal energy. They have brought so much into my life. They add a layer protection and aid in healing, encourage deeper feelings of love, kindness and compassion, and bring synchronicity, creativity, joy. I cannot and will not get enough of them.
“For other creatives who are currently finding it difficult to create and hone their craft during these trying times, I say, hold on to the vision; don’t lose the plot. The joy is in the freedom of creating, no one can take that away from you.” — Joyce Makitalo as told to Carmencita S. Sioson